Monday, December 30, 2013

Prayer OK-er

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 2:36 PM

A  lawsuit intending to stop invocations at city of Eureka functions was denied last week after nearly a year in court.

Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Bruce Watson ruled — on Christmas Eve, no less — that invocations at council meetings do not violate the California Constitution, according to a press release issued by the city attorney today.

Eureka citizen Carole Beaton sued the city earlier this year, saying the mayor’s office shouldn't promote prayer. “We’ll take them on,” Mayor Frank Jager told the Journal at the time.

Watson ruled that the writers of the state’s Constitution had not “intended to prohibit legislative prayer,” according to the release. In announcing the city victory, Jager said, “The City welcomes everyone and does not force anyone that does not want to participate in the invocation to join in.”

Here’s the full release:

Continue reading »

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Burying Old Grudges

Posted By on Mon, Dec 30, 2013 at 11:08 AM

  • Photo by Heidi Walters
Matthew Caldwell (with the shovel) and his friends — (left-right) Miles Gonzaga, Jordan Brunnell and Logan Bailey — took turns late Sunday afternoon burying each other up to their chins at Trinidad State Beach.

Seems as good a way as any to finish off the moldering old year.
  • Photo by Heidi Walters

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Friday, December 27, 2013

Be A King Tides Groupie

Posted By on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 at 3:15 PM

Humboldt Bay — Perch Road, King Salmon, Dec. 13, 2012. - PHOTO BY TIM CLOHESSY/COURTESY HUMBOLDT BAYKEEPER
  • Photo by Tim Clohessy/courtesy Humboldt Baykeeper
  • Humboldt Bay — Perch Road, King Salmon, Dec. 13, 2012.
King tides are exciting: The ocean creeps up and up into our faces, higher than usual, until we can’t help but stop in the middle of the Eureka Slough Bridge to gaze and wonder, “Where’d that skinny island go?” And then, driving around Humboldt Bay, we marvel at the overtopped dikes and waterlogged bay islands and other high-nibble shores.

Real exciting — and unnerving to imagine in conjunction with sea-level rise.

Well, here’s your task, you morbid water watchers: Some mighty king tides are coming in a few days, and Humboldt Baykeeper wants you to volunteer to go out there and document what happens at “vulnerable areas of the bay’s shoreline,” as it notes in a news release.

“King tides are extreme high tide events that occur when the sun and moon's gravitational forces magnify one another,” says the release. “King tides tend to be more dramatic in the winter when storms cause increased wind and waves along the coast.”

The next king tides begin Dec. 31 with a high tide expected to be a foot higher than the average high tide, says the release — and the highest high tide in 2013 (at the North Spit tide gage, for instance, the tide is expected to rise to 8.56 at 10 a.m). They’ll spill over (ha ha) into the new year on Jan. 1 (with an 8.65 tide at 10:52 a.m. at the north Spit gage) and Jan. 2. Your “images will help document flooding, erosion and levee breaches that we are likely to face with increasing frequency as sea level continues to rise,” says the release.

All you need is a camera or smartphone. To adopt a site to document, email Your pics will go up online (check out 2012’s King Tide Photo Initiative entries).

Baykeeper’s Jennifer Kalt’s recommended king tide observation spots don’t include Eureka Slough Bridge — gotta admit it’s a scary, traffic-zipping spot, but the king tide there Monday will be 9 feet, and on Tuesday, Christmas Eve, 9.24 feet! They do include Halvorsen Park and the F Street boardwalk in Eureka, Woodley Island, the Mad River Slough Bridge on Highway 255 in Manila, Liscom Slough on Jackson Ranch Road in Arcata, Fields Landing and King Salmon. And of course you should check out NOAA’s tide predictions.

As ever, use your noggin on this adventure and be careful.

For more info on high tides, sea level rise and Humboldt Bay in particular, check out Humboldt Baykeeper’s sea level rise site; the Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District’s Humboldt Bay Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning Project and our profile of the man who walked around the bay and meticulously documented its shoreline and its vulnerabilities, Aldaron’s Walkabout.
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Thursday, December 26, 2013


Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 11:56 AM

"Bon Boniere Not Here" - PHOTO BY KEN MALCOMSON
  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
  • "Bon Boniere Not Here"
Oh, we still cry for the loss of that Old Town institution, Bon Boniere. And what do we do when we’re this sniffly sad? Stuff our faces with sweets, wherever we can get them (sniff!).

So it is with mixed joy and, well, joy, that we share news of this new development down there in the warm-brick space that once homed dear BB ... yep, another place for a toothquake! Sweet Temptations, to be more precise (whose mall location, word is, will be closing). So, for Old Town folks, solace is but a teary-eyed stumble from Venlo to Living the Dream to Old Town Coffee & Chocolates to Ramones and, someday, to the new Sweet.

Sweet Temptations began in Fortuna, was there three years, and then moved to the mall in 2009, according to a story back then in the Humboldt Beacon. If we hear more from owner Kristin Ambrosini, we'll bring you an update.

There's a new sweet in Old Town - PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
  • There's a new sweet in Old Town

Sweet Temptations - PHOTO BY HEIDI WALTERS
  • Photo by Heidi Walters
  • Sweet Temptations

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A Merry Co-op Solstice Story

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM

After half a year of dickering and angst, North Coast Co-op management and its United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 5 employees have ratified the new contract they tentatively agreed upon in November — 81 percent of the union members voted for it.

According to the Co-op, the contract includes 5 percent annual raises for wage employees until they max out on the wage scale. It also allows Co-op workers to retain their health plan at the same cost for a year (it has a $350 deductible) — after that, any increases will be "based on actual plan costs."

There are other provisions, including a "winter solstice bonus" because, you know, this is Humboldt:

"In addition, the Co-op will begin offering a second policy option with a lower cost and higher deductible for employees who find a lower premium option preferable. The total benefits package to both full time and part time Co-op employees includes: medical, dental and vision coverage; affordable dependent health insurance coverage; life insurance; 401(k) match up to 5%; paid time off; winter solstice bonus; discounted gym membership as well as free food in the break rooms. In addition, all Co-op employees receive a 15 percent discount on their purchases from the Co-op every day."
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Google Glass Hits Humboldt

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 1:42 PM

"You have overdue fees." Humboldt County Librarian Kitty Yancheff sports a pair of pre-release Google Glasses. - SHANE MIZER
  • Shane Mizer
  • "You have overdue fees." Humboldt County Librarian Kitty Yancheff sports a pair of pre-release Google Glasses.
Hey readers: What's the best thing that Google Glass technology could do for Humboldt? The scariest?

The technology is not available to consumers yet — and no release date has been announced — but if you're dying to wrap a pair of these Geordi-cum-Robocop techno-specs, they're going on ebay for around $1,999.
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Sunshine and Calm = Sneaker Waves.

Posted By on Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 12:59 PM

  • Photo by Ken Malcomson
  • Agate Beach.

Here on the Humboldt edge  of  the  world, Christmas  Day and the day after promise to be filled with sunshiny sparkle and gentle breezes. To the beach,  the  wonderful beach!

Yes, by all means, go, enjoy. But, before you go, you should  do something that could save your life and that of others: Read the sneaker wave tips (below) offered by the good folks with the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay and the National Weather Service office on Woodley Island. Then spread the word. Because sunny, calm days are the consistent backdrop for these watery surprises that have been known to  drag people and pets to an ocean death. As a news release from the Coast Guard emphasizes:

"Sneaker waves can catch you off guard and quickly pull you into the ocean where survival is unlikely because of strong currents, turbulent surf and very cold water. "

Grim. But real. According to Troy Nicolini, with the weather service, sunny, calm days have historically been the most deadly for beachgoers here on the North Coast (and jettygoers, although you really shouldn't be wandering out on those wave-bashed projections, anyway). Those are the days when people have died from sneaker waves, particularly during a rising tide — and as Nicolini explained in a previous Journal story, the waves that took them were not monsters, but rather no bigger than eight to 10 feet. There are several reasons for this seeming incongruity:

Continue reading »

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Friday, December 20, 2013

Barred Owl Killing Has Begun

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 4:30 PM

  • Photo by Zach St. George
  • Barred owl.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife's experimental barred-owl demolition — er, reduction — to save the northern spotted owl has begun, reports Jeff Barnard with the Associated Press. So far, 26 members of the  species Strix varia have been blammoed out in Hoopa. And many more are targeted.

The Hoopa site is one of four sites in California, Oregon and Washington chosen by the USFWS to experiment with barred-owl reduction, according to the Record of Decision outlining the agency's controversial plan, which you can find, along with other info on the owl duel, on the agency's website.

The agency notes in the decision document that while the "Hoopa (Willow Creek) Study Area is the most recently invaded, has lower barred owl densities, and higher spotted owl site occupancy," it "has shown recent declines in spotted owl nesting and site occupancy coincident with a rapidly increasing barred owl population."

Readers may want to revisit former Journal writer Zach St. George's award-winning story on the barred owl/spotted owl situation, "Shooting Owls."
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Pay for Graves

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 10:54 AM

"Samoa Bunker" by Ingrid Nickelsen, a new addition to the Morris Graves' permanent collection. - PHOTO COURTESY MORRIS GRAVES MUSEUM OF ART
  • Photo courtesy Morris Graves Museum of Art
  • "Samoa Bunker" by Ingrid Nickelsen, a new addition to the Morris Graves' permanent collection.
Question: That fiver burning a hole in your pocket (or wiggling to get out of your just-spend-it card): Do you really have the best plan for it? Coffee is so everyday. Happy hour, yeah, whatever, that's what the other bills and credits are for. No, where you're gonna march that itchy five bucks is to the Morris Graves Museum of Art on F Street in Eureka, where you were planning to go sink into a fine-art reverie anyway. Right? Right?

That's right: Beginning Jan. 1, the private, non-profit MGMA is charging $5 admission to its exhibitions ($2 for seniors 65 and over and for students with ID; free for children 17 and under, and free for museum members). The museum has had free admission since it opened Jan. 1,  2000, says a news release from the MGMA. Executive Director Jemima Harr explains:

“Over the past few years, the recession has been particularly devastating for the cultural and arts community. The many people who have a deep affinity for the Morris Graves Museum of Art understand all too well that this institution has been greatly impacted by the economic crisis. Around the world and in our backyards the landscape for nonprofit organizations has shifted dramatically. Organizations that wait too long to realize this truth or dismiss it entirely are likely to become casualties of the era. Under no circumstances will we allow this to be the fate of the Morris Graves Museum of Art."

The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m.

Admission includes access to all programs, including Art Talk Sundays, Jazz Jams, Second Saturday Family Arts Days and Afternoons of Dance. But you can still go into the museum store and wander around the Melvin Schuler Sculpture Garden in the back of the museum for free, and Arts Alive! and KEET’s Kids Club at the MGMA also will remain free.

Harr added that the museum will "look for opportunities in the future to ensure that the admission fee does not serve as a barrier to those who cannot otherwise afford it."

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Humboldt Baykeeper Lands New Digs at The Link in Arcata

Posted By on Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Local environmental nonprofit Humboldt Baykeeper, which has fallen on tough times financially this year, has found a new home inside "The Link" office building in Arcata (formerly home to Yakima). As the logo collage above attests, The Link has become a hip HQ for local leftie causes and small businesses.

Here's the press release:


Effective Jan. 1, 2014, Humboldt Baykeeper will be joining our colleagues at the Link in Arcata:
1385 Eighth Street, Suite 228, Arcata, CA 95521 (in the old Yakima Building)

Stay tuned for 2014 to ring in change and opportunity as we restructure and refocus on the essential work of protecting Humboldt Bay!

Thanks to the Northcoast Environmental Center, Friends of the Eel River, Arcata Technology Center Partners, and individual donors who made this move possible.

If you've already donated to our annual fund appeal, thank you for your support to work on upcoming issues, including:

Dec. 31 - Jan. 2: King Tide Photo Initiative , a volunteer effort to document the highest tide of the year in areas at risk from sea level rise;

Jan. 6 - Appeal of the Halvorsen quarry permit on Rocky Gulch, a coho-bearing stream in the Indianola area;

Billboard removal on the 101 Corridor between Arcata and Eureka; and many other issues affecting Humboldt Bay and its tributaries.

Thanks to our many supporters and volunteers — we couldn't do it without you!

Jennifer Kalt, Policy Director
Humboldt Baykeeper

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